If you’ve been on a group trip before, you know that it requires careful planning, accurate budgeting and open communication. Without those elements, your trip can quickly fall off the rails and lead to disaster. As the group’s clear leader, it’s your responsibility to set these actions in motion.
With that in mind, here are ten tips to help you plan a group trip with your office.
1. Take the Initiative
You must take the initiative in laying the groundwork for the trip. Planning works better with a voice of reason leading the discussion, and that voice should be you. Start talking about travel options and potential activities with your employees. Encourage them to start gathering money, clothes and other belongings for the trip early on.
You also want to maintain this dynamic throughout the trip, not just in the planning stages. If and when an unexpected obstacle pops up, assume the responsibility of addressing it. There’s never a dull moment as the leader of a group trip.
2. Evaluate Your Group Members
Each of your employees brings something unique to the table. A person might get along with everyone, but they’re messy and unorganized. Another person might have a rugged personality but prove to be a reliable groupmate. Evaluate these group dynamics and see if any issues might arise from them. You might find it helpful to ask these questions in your evaluation:
- Do all of your group members want to do the same activities?
- Who is more reserved and more adventurous?
- Who keeps a tight ship, and who is unorganized?
- Do you have any problem characters?
These questions have largely subjective answers, but as the leader, you have to consider any issues that might arise from your group dynamic. Bad blood is the last thing you want on a group trip.
3. Agree on a Budget
The first element of the trip your entire group should agree on is the budget. People have varying opinions on how much the trip should cost, so you should clear the air and nail down this detail as soon as possible. An established budget leaves no room for surprises when everyone hears the costs of travel, lodging and other accommodations.
One way to give your budget some flexibility is to make certain activities optional for the group. If someone doesn’t want to participate, you can leave them out of the budget for that activity. You might also consider pooling your cash together into one source before the trip instead of trying to split the bill for food expenses.
4. Book Your Travel Plans ASAP
The flight or ground transportation prices for your destination might be cheap right now, but nothing guarantees that they will spike in the weeks leading up to your trip. You should book your transportation as soon as possible to get the monkey off your back and focus on planning activities. See if you can take advantage of any generous group rates.
You should also determine how you will get from the drop-off point to your lodging and how you will get around town throughout the trip. Public transportation is a reliable option, but you could also rent a vehicle or use electric scooters, which have become increasingly common in American and European cities.
5. Expand Your Search Beyond Hotels
A hotel is an adequate lodging option, but it’s not always the best choice for large groups. Staying in separate rooms discourages communication, plus you can’t control which other guests stay at the hotel. If you book a hotel at the wrong time, you could end up staying in a packed house with loud neighbors and subpar food.
Expand your search to local vacation rental homes and Airbnb properties. You can come and go as you please, hang out with each other more often and prepare meals on your own time. These options are often cleaner and more cost-effective than hotels, anyway.
6. Use Apps to Organize Finances
While your group should pool together a healthy cash supply, you should also organize your digital money with financial apps. PayPal and Venmo will help you handle any “who owes what” situations. Splitwise is another Venmo-owned app that allows you to settle bills and transfer money. If you’re going out of the country, Splittr converts your finances into the country’s currency for just $1.99 on the app store.
7. Plan Your Meals
Much of your meal planning depends on which lodging accommodation you choose. Most of your food will come from hotel food options and local restaurants if you stay at a hotel. If you choose a rental, you can cook most of your meals on your own. You should determine where, when, and how you plan to eat throughout the trip no matter which option you choose.
Bring your group together to write a grocery list and make it your first priority upon arrival. Establish the essentials first (bread, meat, greens, etc.) before opening up the floor to personal preferences. Encourage everyone to pack their own snacks, if possible.
8. Prepare for the New Environment
If your destination has a different environment than you’re accustomed to, you must prepare accordingly. Research the area’s ecosystem, weather, social climate and other factors that could influence how you pack for the trip. You might have to pack for extreme weather or adhere to different COVID-19 restrictions. Wildlife even plays a factor in some regions. You’ll feel much more comfortable knowing the location’s characteristics before you arrive rather than experiencing them without prior knowledge.
9. Pre-Plan Some Activities
As you research your location, look for potential attractions and activities for your group. Even if the place is a tourist hotspot with popular sites, you never know what else you might find. Set some plans in advance of the trip so your group can prepare for them. They might need a swimsuit, hiking gear or other equipment. Plus, pre-planning gives everyone something extra to look forward to as the trip approaches.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Split Up
You might have planned and traveled as a unified group, but don’t feel pressured to stick together throughout the trip. Give yourself and your employees their “me” time to enjoy the trip on your own terms. If you had your eye on a specific activity but the rest of the group didn’t seem interested, book the activity anyway. Don’t be afraid to split up from the group to enjoy an afternoon by yourself.
Make Your Office Group Trip Memorable
As a trip or vacation approaches, we all love to think about the memories we will make. Those thoughts will only become a reality if you plan the trip’s logistics well in advance. Step up as the leader and learn more about your group. Take care of the vital details early, including finances, travel routes, lodging arrangements and food plans.
Prepare yourself for the new environment and schedule some activities before you leave so the group can pack everything they need. Most importantly, remember to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Set aside time for yourself to ensure that you get the most out of your trip.